FERMANAGH has already been confirmed as the best place to live in the UK in recent years, and now Enniskillen is in the running for the title of best town to live in Ireland.
Last weekend the Irish Times published its nominees for the prestigious ‘Best Place to Live in Ireland’ awards, and the county town was one of just 20 places to be selected out of 470 entries from across the 32 counties. Enniskillen was one of nine towns on the list, which was compiled after nominations from over 2,400 people, with cities such as Derry and Galway and villages such as Glaslough in Co Monaghan also in the running.
Entries for the Best Place to Live in Ireland opened back in June and Enniskillen picked up 21 nominations, which helped secure its place on the final shortlist. The judges also spoke to many locals, including journalists here at the Herald, when making their decision to include the town on the shortlist.
One local man the judges spoke with was Reggie Ferguson, who they felt best represented “everything that is great about Enniskillen”, and who they quoted in the shortlist that was published in the national paper at the weekend.
“Enniskillen is beautifully situated on an island joining upper and lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh,” Mr Ferguson had told them.
“It is a mellow town which provides its residents and visitors with a mix of shopping, culture, restaurants, and bars to cater for all needs. The town has increasingly come to appreciate the bounty of Lough Erne, has a good well-priced housing supply and is a very good place to live.”
The Irish Times also added in its own view of the town: “A really welcoming, vibrant town, with picturesque scenery. Facilities are good – restaurants, food shops – there are plenty of schools and a good supply of houses, although prices are rising as it becomes more popular.”
Each of the judges in the competition, which is sponsored by Randox Health, had to consider entries based on specific criteria, such as community spirit, local services and amenities, cost of living, and the vibrancy of the local economy. The judges include Mayo architect Simon Wall, Irish Times journalist Rosita Boland, TV presenter Zainab Bolade and Monaghan GP Illona Duffy.
“In Enniskillen and the other locations named in the Top 20 – our judges saw how pride in, and passion for a place can galvanise a community to action and lead to the forging of a unique and open spirit of creativity and innovation,” said chair of the judging panel, Conor Goodman.
“In each of these locations a strong culture of volunteerism is evident as is a keen interest in sustainability and a desire to create a welcoming environment which caters for people of all ages and backgrounds.”
The top five finalists will be nominated by mid-September, while the overall winner will be announced by the Irish Times on September 25.
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